Barcelona’s intriguing streets

El Born in Barcelona - shops and housing
The streets of El Born provide a combination of shops and housing.
Passeig del Born - Barcelona
Passeig del Born is a great walkway for pedestrians and features cafés and bars. I learned that in medieval day, this was the location for jousting competitions.

The streets of Barcelona were intriguing.

There were major thoroughfares that looked like main roads in US cities. But within just a block of those major streets were the real streets of Barcelona.

Las Ramblas has two narrow lanes for traffic with the majority of the area being a wide pedestrian walkway. Every time I was in the area, hundreds of people were walking too. Tents with flowers, crafts and food lined the walkway. Crossing the narrow traffic lane, we could visit a shop or choose from dozens of little cafés for lunch.

Las Ramblas provides lots to view including Joan Miro artwork as part of the walkway. One of my favorite buildings along the walk was the Bruno Quadras Building, a former umbrella factory decorated with artistic and surprising umbrellas.

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My friend Cheryl lived in El Born, with medieval streets and the Santa Maria Del Mar Church as a central landmark. Interesting shops and cafes lined the narrow streets, concealed at night and during siesta time with metal rolldown garage doors, many covered with graffiti. But once the metal doors were opened, dynamic stores were revealed:

  • Artisans creating their work –knitted scarfs, handmade leather shoes or stylish party dresses.
  • Window displays of empanadas or confections.
  • Shops with two dozen flavors of gelato to tempt passerbys.
  • Cafés offering tapas and wine.

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The main traffic in these narrow walkways is made up of pedestrians, cyclists and people on scooters. Only an occasional car or truck on some official mission – like delivering mail or collecting trash. Throughout town are racks of red and white bicycles that Barcelona residents can ride and return to another bike station.

Placa Reial - Barcelona
Placa Reial was surrounded by cafés and shops.

In the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter), we explored El Ravel, which is a lively market, and Placa Reial with its fountain and majestic palms.

Everywhere we visited we walked. A few times we took the metro, but even that required walking up and down stairs or walking from one metro line to another to make a connection.

Getting 10,000 steps on our Fitbits every day was never a challenge.